THE OTHER EINSTEIN -- the story of Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict (2016, Sourcebooks Landmark; 304 pages)
It is the year 1896. Mileva Marić, a twenty year old woman, has chosen a very different path than most of the girls around her. Mileva is smart enough to join an elite group of Zurich male students studying physics, among them Albert Einstein, who takes an interest in her at a moment when her world turns sideways.
The Other Einstein is the story of the brilliant Mile Marić, incredible physicist and Einstein's wife, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. The author offers us a window into a fascinating woman with an incredible personality whose light suffered in Einstein's enormous shadow.
Marie Benedict bases her work of fiction on a cache of love letters between the couple dated from 1897 to 1903, years when Mileva and Albert were university students first and then a married couple. Those letters were discovered in 1980. The book searches to find the answer to the question of what role Mileva truly played in Albert's "miracle year" of 1905, when she was forced to subsume her academic ambitions and intellect to his ascent, and investigates how she had to disguise her own discoveries and his.
This is a story of another woman in science whose aspirations and contributions suffered from a misogynist society. It is also the story of women's friendship, a fascinating and thoughtful reading. Recommended.
Find this title in our catalog: The Other Einstein
Recommended by: Maite
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2015, Vintage; 352 pages)
This is a gorgeous and unsettling book, a haunting portrait of life at the edge in a post-apocalyptic world where some humans try to preserve art, culture and kindness while defending their lives from other human predators.
Arthur Leander, a famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Kirsten Raymonde was there when that happened. She never forgot that night, not only for that event but because it was also the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city. A few weeks later, civilization as we know it came to an end.
We move forward 20 years and we find Kirsten traveling between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of musicians and actors. They are the Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But one day they encounter a violent prophet that will threaten the band's existence.
With action that moves between the old and new world, the author draws connections between the characters and their pasts. This is a book about many things, but above all, about the value of friendship, love and art -- values that do not become obsolete. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, an apocalyptic story that can almost read like a long poem. It is, of course, a book that is hard to put down and one of those readings that reminds you with each page of our mortal condition, and the privileges we enjoy without even realizing it. Great reading for winter evenings in Alaska.
Find this title in our catalog: Station Eleven
Recommended by: Maite